H2K nominee Sharron Duran
On September 12, 2020, New Mexico State Police officer Sharron Duran pulled over a pickup on Interstate 40 near Laguna for tailgating. As Duran approached the vehicle, the driver – 28-year-old Robert Nelson of Scottsdale, Arizona – fired three .22 caliber rounds at her through the tinted, rolled-up passenger side window.

After being struck in both hands and vest, Officer Duran recovered and returned fire at the suspect. Nelson drove off in his truck and continued eastbound on I-40. Despite her injuries, Officer Duran returned to her vehicle and initiated a vehicle pursuit. After a brief pursuit, Nelson pulled over on the side of the highway and got out of his truck.

Laguna officers arrived to help, and Nelson was taken into custody without further incident. Officer Duran was transported to an area hospital where she was treated and released. In addition to the gunshot wounds to the hands, the federal search warrant also suggests she was shot in the chest, but her bulletproof vest stopped the bullet.

Nelson was booked into the Cibola County Detention Center. He has been charged with attempted murder of an officer, which is a federal charge because Duran was working as a task force officer with Homeland Security.

Officer Duran is recovering from her wounds to her hands. In a formal interview, she revealed her motivation for fighting her way through the pain. "I'm not going to let this person take me away from the family and the people that I love," she said.

Ben Wolfgram